This article provides a comparative analysis of the meaning of self-entrepreneurship in France and individual micro-enterprises in Brazil in the redefinition of employment standards. These forms are at the crossroads of independence, employment and informality. The first part of the article shows the socio-historical dynamics of these categories that make up employment standards regimes in these two countries. The second puts the forms of self-entrepreneurship in their national contexts on the basis of the previous socio-historical analysis and national public debates. The third part proposes a comparative sociology of self-entrepreneurs by cross-checking typical portraits of French and Brazilian self-entrepreneurs.